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Fuyao Glass Founder Appeals To Chinese Roots

by Shu-Ching Jean Chen

This story appears in the September 2015 issue of Forbes Asia.

Cao Dewang (also known as Cho Tak Wong)


Reminding China of its Roots

Cao grew up playing with the neighborhood kids on the grounds of a small temple under lush trees in Fuqing city, Fujian Province. Now he has transformed the site into a vast center of education and religion that boasts Buddhist and Taoist temples and a redbrick high school.

A gold-plated Buddha sits next door to a giant statue of Confucius with open arms to greet schoolkids. Cao donated $75 million for the construction and operation of the complex while also planning the design and supervising the work.

“This is an example I wanted to set as a businessman, to show the public that success needs to come with a value system,” says the billionaire head of China’s largest automotive glass maker. He’s appealing to a deep-rooted but increasingly forgotten theme in Chinese culture, that Chinese civilization was shaped by three guiding lights: Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Cao is a prodigious giver, doling out nearly $1 billion over the years. In 2011 he launched his Heren Foundation with a donation of 300 million Fuyao shares, then equal to a 15% stake. Its stake is now worth $625 million and yielded $35 million in dividends this year.

In 2010 he earmarked $30 million for victims of a drought in 5 southwestern provinces and dispersed the aid in an unusually transparent way: Nearly 100,000 farmers in 5,000 villages got help and each grant was recorded individually, with receipt documented, acknowledged and made public. –Shu-Ching Jean Chen.

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